Treasure No 80: Finding the Right Voice – Glimpses of Poetic Imagery in the Hymn Tune

Some four years ago, The Times ‘Credo’ featured an article that began with an impassioned plea for ‘music of quality’ in the church’s liturgy. Denouncing the trite and the banal, the writer, Dr John Shepherd, appealed for music of a calibre that could not only draw us into ‘an engagement so profound that its sense can never be exhausted’ but …

Treasure No 77: Canticles Old and New

(Hymn Society Conference Lecture, Durham, 28 July 2010 Edited for The Bulletin) As the daughter of a vicar I grew up knowing the Book of Common Prayer canticles very well from weekly chanting in church, and my father was working for the Church Pastoral Aid Society at the time when Psalm Praise (which has many metrical versions of canticles as …

Treasure No 75: The Price of Sin

The verse was in the original Songs of Praise but omitted from the 1931 edition by Percy Dearmer on the grounds that it was based on old ideas of the atonement from the time of Anselm. The Companion to Rejoice and Sing states that ‘There are echoes of ancient theological controversies about representing the atonement as a price paid to …

Treasure No 74: Geoffrey Beaumont and the 20th Century Church Light Music Group – A Recognition of their Contribution to Contemporary Hymnody

Two dates that are of primary importance are 1955 and 1957. The first relates to a radio programme, Sunday Half Hour, in which one of Beaumont’s hymns tunes in a popular style was used (set to ‘Lord, thy Word abideth’), and the second to a BBC television broadcast. The radio show may have pointed the way forward, but it is …

Treasure No 73: Healing the Nations: Fred Kaan The Man and his Hymns by Gillian Warson, Stainer & Bell Ltd. 115 pp £9.50 ISBN 0-85249-889-6

He is widely known for his hymns, but not so many know about the man himself. He was born in Haarlem in 1929, but the family moved in 1934, and spent the years of Nazi occupation in the town of Zeist. There, his parents supported the Resistance and, at great risk, made a hiding place for small arms in their …